First Look At Enchanted Tales With Belle In New Fantasyland

This morning I had the opportunity to experience a preview of the new Enchanted Tales with Belle inside the Fantasyland Expansion in Magic Kingdom. I went with my family, which includes two toddlers aged 3 and nearly 2.  While they are familiar with Beauty and the Beast, it is not a movie they watch over and over, so I was not sure how they would react to the expanded meet and greet.

Since the preview was not open to the public, we had to wait outside the construction walls for a Cast Member to come check us in and take us back to Maurice’s Cottage. While much of the expansion was still blocked from view, what we could see was gorgeous! There were trees and other plants everywhere…quite the change from the barren Fantasyland we are used to. We queued up in front of the cottage and could see the impressive Beast’s Castle peeking through the trees.

After a short wait outside, we were taken into the first room of Maurice’s Cottage. Here there are remnants from Belle’s childhood: height marks on the wall from every year as she was growing up, a portrait of Belle reading a book with her mother, and books and invention plans on every available surface. This room is so immersive and detailed; you can really picture Belle and Maurice living in this space. There are even some fantastic somewhat hidden appearances by Sleeping Beauty and Mrs. Potts and Chip! So keep your eyes peeled.

From there we were led into Maurice’s Workshop. Inventions lined the shelves, including a wonderful music box that played simple selections from the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. The whole room, including the light fixtures and other decorations, are so ornate and detailed. It truly felt like a crazy old inventors workshop.

The centerpiece of the room in an ornate golden mirror on the wall that does not seem to fit with anything else in the room. Once everyone is inside the room (they take groups of about 45 people), the Cast Member explains that the mirror was a gift from Beast to Maurice. The mirror is enchanted and allows Maurice to not only see his daughter in her home in the castle with Beast, but actually allows him to step through and visit her. The crowd is then instructed to ask the mirror, “Show us the night when Belle fell in love with The Beast.” The mirror then begins a breathtaking transformation in which it expands and grows into a full door, all while showing us up to the Beast’s Castle and in through the front doors. The mirror is seamlessly turned into an open doorway that takes the entire group into a chamber in the castle.

In the next room guests are greeted by Madame Wardrobe. The impressive audio-animatronic explains that Belle is preparing for a big dinner with the Beast, but we are all going to surprise her and reenact the story of her falling in love with the Beast. A Cast Member then opens up Madame Wardrobe, and begins assigning parts to the crowd. To pick who is best for each part, she made the assembled crowd “audition” as a group by roaring like Beast, hopping like Chip, and even shivering like a scared Maurice imprisoned in the dungeon. Each character is represented by a cutout prop of some sort that the chosen actors carry throughout the performance. All of the children and many parents were assigned roles, and then the Cast Members asked if everyone who wanted to participate got a part. They have extra parts of dancing dishes to ensure that anyone who wants to can be in the story.

One thing they do not mention at this point is that if you want to meet Belle, you will need to have a part in the story. Regular audience members will not have a chance to meet her. Update: While this may seem to be the case, it turns out that you can indeed join in to meet Belle without participating, you just need to jump in the back of the line after the parade portion when the introductions and photos begin.

Once every one is ready, Lumiere calls us into the next room to prepare for Belle’s arrival. The room you enter is one of two rooms on either side of Madame Wardrobe. All participants are seated on the floor (children) or in the front row (adults); everyone else fills in the rest of the benches. The incredibly realistic Lumiere explains that we are all going to surprise Belle with the story. He then turns the lights down and calls for Belle. Once she enters, the crowd yells, “Surprise!” and the show begins.

Lumiere, assisted by two Character Attendants, tells a short version of the Beauty and the Beast story (minus any mention of Gaston) up to the point of the song, “Be Our Guest.” In our group, some of the kids (our Beast in particular) really got in to their roles and had a great time. The story was simple and silly, and all of the kids and adults in our group seemed to really enjoy it. As can be expected, very young children had a difficult time following the direction, but it was all very cute.

When Lumiere sang “Be Our Guest” at the end of the performance, Belle took the children and the other performers and paraded them around the room to where they all got in line and the actual meet and greet portion began. The actual meeting was a bit rushed, but no one seemed disappointed. A PhotoPass photographer was on hand to capture all of the action, and at the end all participants were given a special “Enchanted Tales with Belle” PhotoPass card and a special bookmark.

Overall, my family really enjoyed the whole experience. The special effects were mind-blowing. The mirror transformation literally gave me chills. It was amazing. The children really enjoyed getting to be a part of the act and having more participation than a traditional meet and greet. I predict that this will be the “sleeper hit” of the Fantasyland Expansion. I want to go again and again just to see the animatronics!

21 thoughts on “First Look At Enchanted Tales With Belle In New Fantasyland

  • September 1, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    How does one get invited to a preview?

    • September 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      That is the question I would like answered!

        • September 1, 2012 at 11:43 pm

          While they may eventually do media previews, that is not how I got into this preview. The previews this weekend are for invited friends and family of Cast Members. My family and I were invited by a friend.

  • September 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    “One thing they do not mention at this point is that if you want to meet Belle, you will need to have a part in the story. Regular audience members will not have a chance to meet her.”

    I hope they fix this & tell you that in the future. If it’s a meet & greet, and then you don’t get to meet her because you don’t volunteer for the play, that would stink.

    How long do they let you stay in the cottage before moving through the mirror? I know I’ll want to take a ton of pics in there, lol, so I’m hoping they don’t rush you out. 🙂

    • September 1, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      I was corrected on that point. Apparently, if you don’t want to participate but want a photo with Belle, you just need to jump into the back of the line after the parade portion of the show and you can have your picture taken with her.

    • September 1, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      Oh, also, I felt like there was plenty of time in with the mirror. We took lots of photos and didn’t feel rushed at all.

  • September 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    If you are not a participant and therefore not part of the meet and greet do you just sit on the benches until the meet and greet is finished or are you allowed to leave after the performance part? I have no interest in meeting Belle but I’d like to see the animatronics and the special effects at least once but It would be a touch boring to sit there after the performance while she meets other people.

    • September 1, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      The meet and greet portion actually goes by very quickly. It is more of a quick picture and introduction to Belle. You can see it at the end of the last video, it is less than 2 minutes long. While they may let you out before that, if not, 2 minutes isn’t terribly long.

  • September 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Well, the Wardrobe is marvelous. (Although it’s too bad the cast member kept talking over her. That was really annoying.) The mirror is very cool too. I’m just not sure about the rest of it. Watching little kids act out a movie isn’ t very entertaining unless those kids are members of the Little Rascals, you know? I guess some kids and parents will like this. But does everything in Fantasyland have to be aimed at 5 year olds?

    • September 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm

      This was the first non-Cast Member preview, and there were still a few bugs, including the timing of the conversation with the wardrobe. I expect that will be worked out during testing. I think the kids acting the show out is very cute, but maybe I am biased since I do have small children. I disagree that everything in Fantasyland is for young children. I enjoy a great deal of Fantasyland, even as an adult, and did before I ever had kids. There are many attraction in Fantasyland that are definitely not for my little ones. Philharmagic is out because they get irritated by the 3D glasses, they were bored by Snow White, one is too short for Barnstormer and the other is scared of it…and with the new additions, they are hardly excited by a new sit down restaurant or a Mine Train coaster. I think it is great to have a story experience like this for young kids who may not be excited by a typical meet and greet experience.

  • September 1, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    That walking video was sort of hypnotic. An interesting effect. This area does seem to be very well themed – and really feels different from the existing castle areas of Fantasyland.

    • September 1, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      I agree it is very different. I think it feels much more like entering a fairy tale than current Fantastyland.

  • September 2, 2012 at 12:33 am

    I cannot wait for this! What an amazing job they did! My kids are going to be besides themselves, and the interactive story is wonderful. MOST people with kids under 10, or people who have EVER had kids under 10, will enjoy the acting out part! As a parent, there’s nothing better than seeing children so happy. This was very well done and April can’t come fast enough.

    How long does this whole experience take? And when can we expect to see it available on the touring plans?

  • September 2, 2012 at 9:06 am

    So, I’m a little confused…just wanted to clarify. I’m headed there in 2 weeks; will I be able to take my 6 & 4 year old daughters through this? Or no because I have to have a special invite? Thanks so much…it sounds great.

  • September 2, 2012 at 9:58 am

    The animatronics look AWESOME! Hope there is testing or soft opening in October when we are there.

  • September 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    And to think…they had similar enhanced meet and greet attractions planned for Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. I really want the Snow White coaster they are building…but it would have been nice to have the other meet and greets after seeing how great this one turned out.

  • September 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Will there be any other type of meet & greet for Belle? Granddaughter has anxiety disorder and would not be able to participate in the show in order to meet Belle.

    • September 2, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      You will be able to meet Belle without participating in the “show.”

      by Scarlett Litton on September 1st, 2012 at 11:57 pm EDT

      “I was corrected on that point. Apparently, if you don’t want to participate but want a photo with Belle, you just need to jump into the back of the line after the parade portion of the show and you can have your picture taken with her.”

  • September 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Wow! I cried. When does this open?

    • September 5, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Was wondering when this is going to open as well. Since no one from Touring Plans seems to want to answer the question, I found this from another site – “Enchanted Tales With Belle will open at Magic Kingdom Park in preview phase November 19, with a grand opening set for December 6.”

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